GIG REVIEW: Max & Iggor Cavalera, Overkill, Insomnium & Deserted Fear Live at Forum O2 Kentish Town
It was that time of year again for timeless metal to hit Europe with the MTV Headbanger’s Ball. I’ve waited one whole year for this day and the 12th December 2017 was the last show for the festival tour and what better city than London to end it in? As enthusiastic fans waited outside the Forum O2 Kentish Town everyone was ready for an evening of partying all in honour of the 20th anniversary of the legendary ‘Roots’ album (Sepultura) to be played live in its entirety by brothers Max & Igor Cavalera and their band- the Cavalera Conspiracy.
The ferocious death metal band Deserted Fear from Germany kicked it all off with vocalist Manuel Glatter’s gnarly and growling ability being a head-turner. The gritty high impact performance was fueled by a plethora of blasts from drummer Simon Mengs coupled with chaotic guitar melodies. The band attempted to roar life into the small crowd (at the time) who seemed unresponsive. I’d put that down to their early set time of 6:30pm. The crowd eventually warmed up during the final song “Bury Your Dead” but the short, punchy set was over.
Next up was a group of Finnish Vikings who descended onto stage in the shape of Insomnium. The melodic death metallers put on a hauntingly beautiful performance and roared straight into the first track “Primeval Dark.” The dark melodies and riffs were mesmerizing and perfectly complimented each other. Niilo Sevanen’s (vocalist/bass) harsh vocals and guitarist Ville Friman’s clean vocals were a perfect mix. They captivated the decent sized crowd and each track was met with a thunderous reception and momentum was never broken, ending their intense set on a high.
As the energy intensified East Coast thrash legends Overkill went full throttle with a thrash attack ploughing straight into “Mean Green Killing Machine” which met a chanting crowd. Their sound is unique and recognizable to metal fans and the mash of thrash reminded me of Anthrax and Slayer. Frontman Bobby ‘Blitz’ Ellsworth’s voice was on top form and packed punch with his legendary energetic performance. Dave Linsk shredded away with speed and made his guitar scream, along with the hefty, thundering drum work bludgeoned our ears. This saw the first wave of crowd surfers of the night and a churning whirlpool of moshers. The set reached a new height during “Rattlesnake” clearly marking it as a fan favourite.
It was a blood curdling journey with Overkill and I almost thought these thrashers had stolen the show until headliner’s Cavalera Conspiracy hit us with some brute force and incorporated the “Return to Roots” tour into the MTV Headbanger’s Ball. They played the classic ‘Roots’ album to fans making the set predictable, but there were some surprises as they performed the Motorhead classic “Ace of Spades” and a destructive performance of “Excruciating” take from the current album ‘Psychosis.’ Crowd reaction was immense from the outset as they plunged straight into “Roots Bloody Roots” which created a seething wave of aggression. The earth quaked as our aural receptors took a relentless battering during Igor’s drum solo, which then turned into a jam session with other drummers who joined him on stage. The blistering sound hit us hard like a jack hammer and the response was pure hysteria as the crowd chanted his name. Not forgetting the main man Max effortlessly held those high pitched screams while throwing out heavy guitar licks.
It was a diverse line up of metal bands performing to a diverse crowd. Deserted Fear delighted the crowd with their short and catchy tunes. Insomnium were memorable and their performance only seemed to build in stature. Penultimate band Overkill thrashed the life out of the crowd setting the bar high for headliner’s Cavalera Conspiracy who put on a thrilling and truly unforgettable experience as they consistently delivered their moving sound and brought a night of heavy metal nostalgia to Sepultura/Soulfly fans. The MTV Headbanger’s Ball tour has reached an end, however these bands are still touring so be sure to catch them in a city near you.